The job hunt is a grueling, time-consuming process. It begins long before actually sending out a resume and a cover letter. The search begins by thoroughly researching potential employers and discovering what the employers are looking for. Diligence should reveal the name and title of the person reviewing your materials. If it does not, you may have to use the dreaded “to whom it may concern” line. This is not a recommended way to start your cover letter; use it only if you absolutely cannot find a name or if you want to have a “default” letter to send your “long-shot” prospects.
Write your address and contact information at the top of the page. Below this, write the name of the company and its address. Begin the letter by writing “To whom it may concern:”.
Spark the reader’s attention by demonstrating what you like about the company in the first paragraph. Show off your research about the company here by discussing what it is about the company that makes you interested in it (besides the fact that it is hiring). Discuss what position you are applying for.
Write about your specific qualifications and how they apply to the opening in the second paragraph. Discuss two to three relevant skills or experiences you can bring to the company. Use different information than what is contained on your resume; the employer does not want to see the same things twice. Besides, you get a chance to sell yourself more in the cover letter. Use it.
Consider briefly addressing why you wrote the letter “to whom it may concern” in the last paragraph and explain what you plan on doing next. For example, if you called the company and the clerk told you that the hiring partner had not been picked yet (but the letter was due in the next day or two), name the clerk and explain the phone call. Discuss whether you will follow up with the employer. Thank the person for taking the time to review your materials and sign the letter.
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